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San Juan

114 out of 122 gamers thought this was helpful

This is always the game my wife wants to play (and who am I to turn down any game?)So my review is going to be biased towards the 2 player aspect and will be presented as how I teach the game to a new player.

Simply, the cards are potentially buildings, goods to sell or ‘currency’.

Each building in the game will benefit you in some way: more goods, more cards, cheaper buildings or give you the victory points needed to win. You pay for these buildings by ‘spending’ the cards in your hand. (This of course means the often painful choice of building quickly or saving a card you want to keep for a future turn.)

Every round you have a choice of five roles.
Builder – build a building paying with cards from your hand
Prospector – Gain a card
Councillor – Choose a card from 5 drawn cards – everyone else chooses 1 from 2 drawn
Producer – Produces a good on a production building
Trader – Sell a good for cards

Each role can be chosen once per round and your opponent gets to use that role as well. However, the player that chose the role gets a bonus – cheaper building, sell or produce an extra good etc. In the two player game, the first player chooses the 1st and 3rd roles.

The game ends when 12 buildings have been placed and that entire turn has finished. Victory points are tallied up to decide the winner.

That’s basically it.

The strategic side of the game is what tactic you will use based on the cards you get: production bias or cheaper buildings? When to choose roles and by playing cards that ‘leech’ off other player’s choices. Knowing when to build and when to risk saving a card for later use and expecially knowing when to get out those expensive 6 cost cards.

A great game that scales well for more players, quick to set up, easy to learn and deep enough to know it was not just ‘bad luck’ that stopped you winning.

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